Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Orange you glad it's November?

For gardeners in more northerly climes, November can be, I am told, a rather bleak and cheerless month. For many of them, winter has already come calling and the snow has begun to fall. It's a good time to curl up in a comfy chair, review the seed catalogs and dream about next year's garden.

Here in the humid South, though, gardening is still possible, indeed necessary. Even in November the weeds grow here. We are still tending our vegetable gardens and digging and dividing perennials. We are laying out new planting beds for digging, and, of course, raking leaves. And here in my part of the humid South, we are still watering our plants because those fall rains just haven't paid us a visit this year and we are in a months-long drought.

Still, November is actually one of my favorite months of the year. For one thing, it hosts my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. For another, it is the first month when we can more or less depend upon the weather being cool enough to actually do hard labor in the garden. November and December are our big months for making changes and improvements to the landscape.

As I look around my garden this Bloom Day, it is very clear what my theme should be: Orange! The color of my garden in November is orange. Let me show you.

We'll start at the front entry beds where orange bulbine has made a comeback since last winter's freeze laid it low.

The orange gerberas shut down for a while during the hottest weeks, but now they are loving the cool fall temperatures.

The tiny cigar-shaped blossoms of the cuphea, on the other hand, never shut down and never missed a beat regardless of the temperature.

Surely these are the 'Lucifer' canna's last blooms of the year.

Milkweed continues to entice butterflies with its orange blossoms, even as it simultaneously forms seed pods.

This milkweed used to have an orange blossom, also, before these future Monarchs stripped it.

Hamelia patens' major customers, the hummingbirds, have moved on for the most part now, but sometimes even smaller customers show up.

The orange species canna is near the end of its bloom cycle.

But the Cape honeysuckle, which waits for autumn to unfurl its blossoms, is just beginning its cycle.

Mexican sunflowers are still drawing in scores of butterflies of many kinds, like this Gulf Fritillary. Yes, even the butterflies are orange!

This well-named Fiery Skipper butterfly looks like a tongue of flame on top of the sunflower.

Even more tongues of flame leap skyward from this hedge of Anisacanthus wrightii, flame acanthus.

Some might see these Turk's cap blossoms as red, but to me they are red-orange and still eligible for my theme.

Even this Sumatrana banana leaf burns orange in the autumn sun, although in reality it is a burgundy and green bicolor.

Leaves of the loropetalum, too, are getting into the orange act.

And the chili pequin continues to sport its orange fruits.

Falling leaves carpet the backyard in many shades of gold, brown, and, yes, orange.

Finally, 'Dortmund's' rose hips ripen into orange.

As the days of this momentous year wind down, it seems only appropriate that it should go out in a blaze of glory. A blaze of orange.


Don't forget to visit our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see a list of all the wonderful gardens and gardeners who are participating in this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Happy gardening!


  1. Beautiful colors, wonderful butterflies! Thanks for the orange. Carolyn

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Carolyn. I enjoyed your lovely garden.

  3. It really is amazing to see how lush things still are down south! I love those milkweed...so lovely!

  4. Great photos. I love the butterfly, skipper and caterpillar. I like photographing those sorts of things in my garden too.

  5. We usually get our first real frost around the 10th of December, scottweberpdx. Until then, things are lush here - including the weeds!

  6. Thanks for dropping by all the way from Australia, Mac! I'm a habitat gardener so you could say that I'm in it for the butterflies - and the bees, birds and other critters that visit my garden. I love photographing them, or at least trying to photograph them.

  7. Nice to "meet" you! I've seen your work, I believe, in the Chronicle's garden pages. I didn't know you had a blog. I love your orange colors -- cheers me up on this gloomy November day.

  8. Yes, my blog is in the Chronicle and here, Elizabeth and I'm delighted to have you visit either place. Orange is definitely a good color to lift the spirits on days like today!

  9. Great theme! I love orange, and it's going strong in my southern garden right now too.

  10. Orange is the dominant color throughout fall in my garden, Pam, and, like you, I do love it!

  11. I didn't used to think I liked orange but everything in its season. Your photos show just how lovely it can be. October and November are very orange months...at least that's how I imagine them. Unfortunately, I've also got lots of hot pink which I choose to ignore for GBBD.

  12. Ah, hot pink can be beautiful. Actually, I can't think of any color that I dislike in the garden. As you say, I think it's all a matter of the season. Certain colors just seem to "fit" some seasons.

  13. You described my weather perfectly - bleak, dreek and damp. Orange is a favourite colour of mine is the garden but my favourite has to be that wonderful shot of the gulf fritilary butterfly.

  14. Gulf Fritillaries are numerous in my garden at this time of year, leavesnbloom. Along with the occasional Monarch and Queen, they complement the orange theme of my fall garden.

  15. November is usually pretty dreary and grey here, but it's been sunny and beautiful so far this year, and warmer than most Novembers.

    Your garden is so fabulously colorful still. I can understand why November's a favorite month.

  16. November has been pleasant here, too, garden girl, though we could use more rain. Like most times of the year (except maybe July and August, it has its distinct charms.

  17. You have so much orange! My flowers right now are red, pink, white, yellow, blue, purple . . but this is one of the few months of the year when I have absolutely no orange blooms.

  18. Hi Birdwoman, thanks for dropping by my site. You certainly have a hectic orange garden, hectic because there's a lot of orange colors. It is depressing that these colors will in a short while will lend themselves to frost. BTW about our cats, neutralizing them is not a common practice here, as services are so far and difficult to bring them there. But that is certainly the best way of minimizing the problem. We do them in male dogs, but also not very often.

  19. It's true that when I look around my garden these days, I see mostly orange, queerbychoice. I do like the color especially at this time of year, but I could use some of your red, pink, white, yellow, blue, and purple!

  20. Yes, if history holds true, in just about three weeks we'll be getting that killing frost which will change everything in the yard, Andrea.

    I do understand that in many parts of the world, neutering pet cats is not necessarily an option, but as a lifelong lover of cats, I know that to be the best decision for them when it is possible. It leads to longer-lived and healthier cats. Maybe you could start a trend! Anyway, good luck to you and long life to your cats. I'm sure they are greatly loved.